Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Objective: San Siro

I should look up the dude who agreed to swap my Rome flight for this Milan one, and but him a drink...

Not only did I get to watch Arsenal fight tooth and nail for a draw with Aston Villa at the Liz Pub, I got to fly into Milan to catch the Champions League!!

Thank you, FS Sanjeev Nair.


I had planned to leave the hotel by 6pm, so that I could soak up the pre-match atmosphere. A last minute decision to catch a cab proved unwise, as I had to stand in the drizzle along a busy road that does not have a vacant taxi.

By 7pm I headed back to the hotel to call for one. It arrived quickly enough, and I hopped in with my colleague. The ride to San Siro was taking tooo long, with all roads leading there jammed up. The driver tried to make small talk with us...

Driver:"You..AC Milan??"

Me:" Kaka! Kaka!"

Driver:"Si.. Kaka..Pato.."

Me:"Si.. Forza Milano!"

Further attempts at communication came to naught, as I no speak the Italiano, eh??

We were dropped off at the 1st gate at San Siro. Even before heading in we could hear the early supporters inside singing their respective songs. We headed into the dense crowd and grabbed some sandwiches and drinks. Scarves were bought and photos taken. I had to pick a neutral one, as I was seated in the Milan section. More photos, a cigarette and we headed towards our entrance.

At the entrance, stewards were checking names on tickets against passports. This botak checking ours was not too convinced when we told him that we had done the name change over the internet earlier in the day.

Stunned, we headed to the ticket booths desperate to clear our names (pun intended). The time then was 815pm. I was stressing out as we were so close to getting into the San Siro. Thankfully, the nice lady officer at the booth cleared it up for us quickly and we rushed back to the queue, avoiding the one manned by the botak steward.

The machine at the turnstiles read our ticket properly and we were soon climbing up what I can best describe as a multi-storey carpark. It goes round and round all the way to the top tier, with regular staircases in the middle if one is up for it.

When we reached the top, the view was simply breathtaking. The drizzle had stopped earlier, and the air was crisp. I wrapped my newly purchased scarves around me and settled into our seats.

To be continued...

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